The Australian outback is notorious for lots of reasons, so you have to be smart when you take any type of trip into less travelled areas. Being unprepared or foolish can cost you your money, your trip or even your life, so listen up to these hard and fast rules for Australian outback travel.
* Outback Australia is super hot during the day, but gets pretty icy at night time. Take a variety of clothing, and always include some heavier and warmer options if you plan on spending any time outdoors after sunset.
* The most notorious factor for most in regards to outback travel is dangerous wildlife. Snakes, spiders, and other creepy crawlies are just as frequent and dangerous as you have been told. Don’t touch anything! You’ll never be able to tell which ones are poisonous or not, and since the landscape is sparse, you’ll have a hard time finding a nearby hospital.
* Wear trousers amongst long grass or bushland. Boots are essential, and make yours COMFORTABLE.
* If you are bitten, wrap a tourniquet (or tight strip of bandage, rip your shirt if you have to) above the area and try to remain calm and still so the poison doesn’t spread. Get to a doctor/ hospital/ emergency station as soon as possible. Australian emergency services can be called on ‘000’.
* While being hugely fascinating and, thanks to Steve Irwin, an icon of our country, crocodiles will eat you. Do not swim in waterholes or rivers you do not know are definitely safe. Some areas are signposted, but many are not in remote places. Don’t think still waters are crocodile- free, countless people are maimed and killed every year by these predators. Consult a tour guide if you have one.
* Drink and carry plenty of water. You will become dehydrated faster than usual in outback heat. A good rule is to carry/ drink one litre of water for each hour of walking or hiking you plan to do.
* Watch your lit fire. Never walk away from an open fire, or leave your site without fully extinguishing all embers. Bush fires are rife even in colder months and someone could be hurt, not to mention the damage to the landscape and its inhabitants.
* Stock up on supplies. It’s best to have too much than not enough in rugged terrain as you don’t know how far it is before you can get more of anything. This also goes for petrol, plan your fuel consumption as petrol stations aren’t frequent and have limited operational hours. Always take extra water in case the engine over heats!
* Make sure your maps are current as you can get horribly lost which will only waste energy, food, water and fuel. Check with the locals if you have questions.
* And finally, make sure someone knows where you are at all times. If you are on your own, send a friend your itinerary or make a point of keeping contact so that they know you are not in danger.
Our outback is both beautiful and seductive, but if you keep a level head and remember the basics, your trip will be unforgetable. Keep in mind your own safety along with the safety of your group members, if you look out for eachother, you might live to tell the story!
Leah Bradicich has travelled through Europe, UK, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She works for Vroom Vroom Vroom, http://www.vroomvroomvroom.com
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